GOP Plans for Women? Empty Binders

Audience members listen as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question during the second presidential deba
Audience members listen as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/Pool, Rick Wilking)

During Tuesday night's second Presidential debate, President Obama showcased his impressive track record of expanding opportunities for women and families. From the Affordable Care Act to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the President made it clear that he has championed policies in support of the improving the economic situation for women and their families.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, made yet another craven attempt to walk away from his extreme positions -- like opposition to equal pay legislation and denying insurance coverage for birth control -- as he seeks to convince voters that he supports policies that benefit women and families.

As proof, Romney offered the now infamous "binders full of women," creating a social media frenzy but failing to actually address the issue.

A lackluster effort to hire women doesn't compensate for the absence of concrete policies in support of equal pay or workplace flexibility. And post-debate polls show that women voters overwhelmingly agree, and still favor President Obama by more than 20 points.

The President isn't the only person winning the debate against right-wing extremists. Across the country, Republicans of every stripe are vying to maintain their lead in the House and shift the balance of the Senate to the far right. Luckily, they're being defeated by amazing EMILY's List candidates every step of the way. Pro-choice Democratic women like Shelley Berkley, Tammy Baldwin, and Maggie Hassan are taking debate season by storm, and seizing upon the opportunity to talk to voters about how their policies will benefit women and families.

Recently in Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin debated Washington insider Tommy Thompson. It wasn't even a contest. Tammy talked about co-authoring the popular Affordable Care Act provision that allows young people under the age of 26 to stay on their parents' health insurance plans. Studies show that 2.5 million young people are now insured because of this law.

Who could complain about that?

But Thompson has unapologetically pledged to repeal every single piece of the Affordable Care Act. That's right. He wants to get rid of coverage for young people. And expanded preventative services for women and seniors. He even wants to take us back to a time where simply being a woman was a pre-existing condition. It's unimaginably reckless. And polls show that Wisconsin voters think so too.

In Nevada, Representative Shelley Berkley has engaged in multiple debates with her opponent Dean Heller. This week, Berkley made sure voters knew Dean Heller's record of voting against equal pay legislation -- twice against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act> and three times against the Paycheck Fairness Act! Nevada's working women know the real impact of those votes each time they look at their paychecks.

While Heller made his disregard for struggling families perfectly clear, Shelley came through as a tough and effective leader. Her policies -- from preserving Medicare to promoting clean energy jobs and economic security -- are smart and pragmatic, and she's ready to take them to the Senate.

And in New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan, the only chance the country has to elect a pro-choice Democratic woman governor, has defeated her extremist opponent Ovide Lamontagne in debate after debate. Lamontagne has made claims that women's healthcare is "not a topical issue" and has dismissively referred to critical policy concerns as "women's reproductive rights, whatever those are." But Maggie has effectively highlighted his out of touch ideas, all the while trumpeting her own sterling record on expanding access to healthcare and boosting job creation.

There are still debates ahead of us, and plenty of chances for pro-choice Democratic women to tell voters exactly how they're going to fight for working families.

So watch the debates and learn more about EMILY's List's incredible pro-choice Democratic women. Because when you listen to what they have to say about things like healthcare access, equal pay, and economic security, your choice at the ballot box will be an easy one.